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Eshwarappa Leads Karnataka BJP Rebels' Meet to Criticise Yeddyurappa

Though BJP’s national leadership has intervened time and again to sort out differences between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa, the two leaders don’t see eye to eye.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:April 27, 2017, 11:45 PM IST
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Eshwarappa Leads Karnataka BJP Rebels' Meet to Criticise Yeddyurappa
Though BJP’s national leadership has intervened time and again to sort out differences between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa, the two leaders don’t see eye to eye.
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Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party may be upbeat after its victories in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi municipality, but its state unit in Karnataka, where Assembly polls are due next year, is jolted by infighting.

A rebel group, led by former deputy chief minister K S Eshwarappa, held a meeting on Thursday and publicly criticised the party’s state president and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s style of functioning, terming it “dictatorial”.

Calling itself the ‘Save BJP Movement’, the group of more than a thousand disgruntled party workers gathered at the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru. “People are made office-bearers in the party if they say Yeddyurappa zindabad! No wonder, such people will become ministers if the party wins,” said Eshwarappa in his address.

Most of the participants at the convention were those who had been removed from various posts at district or taluka level after Yeddyurappa was named the state unit president.

Rebellion has been brewing in Karnataka BJP since April 2016 when Yeddyurappa was appointed state president. Soon after holding the charge, Yeddyurappa had announced sweeping changes in the party.

Eshwarappa and other disgruntled leaders have often complained that Yeddyurappa has been appointing his “yes men” on key party posts.

In August last year, Eshwarappa had launched the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade, an “apolitical” forum, for those belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and other backward castes (OBCs).

Though BJP’s national leadership has intervened time and again to sort out differences between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa, the two leaders don’t see eye to eye.

At Thursday’s meeting, the rebels have set a deadline of May 10 for the party’s national leadership to sort out the differences. Else, they have threatened to hold a massive public convention on May 20. It was also decided send a delegation to meet Amit Shah.

An angry Yeddyurappa indicated he would likely go to Delhi on Friday to meet Shah himself and register a strong complaint about Eshwarappa's anti-party activities. "Eswharappa and Co are creating confusion. They are working to help the Congress in a way."

The party high command will also figure out who is "the brain behind such rebellion" the party president said.

Interestingly, the convention sported BJP flags, 'lotus' logos at every corner and even photos of ideologues Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee -- with Eshwarappa claaiming that they were the "original BJP” -- scenes eerily reminiscent of the tussle for J Jayalalithaa’s 'true' legacy in neighboring Tamil Nadu.

Yeddyurappa's loyalists, who held a press conference at the BJP office soon after the convention, spoke out against this as more evidence of 'indiscipline.'

"He must be expelled immediately, we ask our national leadership to do this within a day. We cannot tolerate such activities. We are here to oppose the Congress and the JDS, not oppose our own leaders," said BJP MLA Ashwathnarayana.

They also said no elected MP or MLA was actually with Eshwarappa in this effort, and dubbed the brigade as a forum of all those who are of no use and have lost their deposits in the previous elections.

Undeterred by the reactions from Yeddyurappa's loyalists and the threat of possible disciplinary action, Eshwarappa said, “Some of the party workers present here have been suspended for anti-party activities. Should we allow that? Let’s suspend those who suspend us.”

“We are here to save the party democracy. One person can’t say I want everything. BJP’s culture is democracy. Everyone should be consulted,” said Bhanuprakash, a member of legislative council. “We don’t have a problem with Yeddyurappa’s leadership. But the office-bearers he has appointed are the ones creating troubles,” added.

Former minister Sagodu Shivanna, who had been suspended by Yeddyurappa, said “It is not the Yeddyurappa we knew earlier. I appeal to the national leadership, hand over our Yeddyurappa to us.”

 

| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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